The Military Child Legacy

By Jacqui HaggertyApril 25, 2024

FHL Purple Up Parade
Isaia Falealii, Fort Hunter Liggett Director of the Multi-Age Child Development Center, on the far left holding banner during the April 15, 2024, Purple Up Parade supporting the Month of the Military Child. (Photo Credit: Stephen K Robinson) VIEW ORIGINAL

By Jacqui Haggerty, FHL FMWR

The symbol for the Month of the Military Child is the dandelion. Dandelions can take root and flourish practically anywhere the wind blows them. Like them, military children are uprooted and replanted across the world, and can thrive wherever they land.

I was never a ‘military child’, but I raised three of them - from Biloxi, Mississippi to Kaiserslautern, Germany and back again. They would tell you they hated the experience at times, but overall, they wouldn’t change a bit of it because of the people they turned-out to be - resilient, compassionate, understanding of different cultures, bi- (and even tri-) lingual, and more adaptable to new circumstances and open to new experiences than their civilian counterparts – both as children and adults.

I recently spent time comparing notes with the newest addition to our Fort Hunter Liggett workforce family, Isaia Falealii, Director of the Multi-Age Child Development Center, who grew-up as a military child.

The eldest of five, his father served on the enlisted side of the U. S. Army, retiring as a master sergeant after 25 years of honorable service. His mother, a National Guard Reservist, went on to serve as a DoD Civilian. It was also the path chosen by three of his four younger siblings – all women. One is currently a DoD Civilian serving as manager of the U. S. Air Force Inn at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Another, a captain in the U. S. Army in Fort Bliss, Texas. The third, a first lieutenant stationed at Fort Cavazos, Texas. All three married U. S. military servicemembers. The fifth and final of the siblings is currently attending college in Columbus, Georgia.

Falealii reflects on his experiences as a military child and says his favorite part of being a military child was “The people. Meeting people who speak different languages, different dialects, with differing energies made me a more well-rounded person.”

He says his least favorite part was knowing that they were never in a permanent place. “Whenever we moved, there was always one box in the hallway that we never unpacked,” said Falealii. “I don’t know if it was intentional or not, but it was always this very visual reminder that, while we might be here, now – it wasn’t permanent.” He went on to say, “That’s something my wife always does when we move – she never leaves any unpacked boxes in the house. It makes every PCS easier for me, and it just makes me love her even more.”

He sees the similarities with his childhood and that of his daughters, having to move with him every time he takes on a new assignment as an Army Civilian. He says she’s making friends from all over the world.

He says military life can be frustrating at times but take advantage of the structure it provides. “Inside the gates, you know your parameters, you know where to go and who to speak to if you need something. Outside… it’s a new world with a different set of rules you’ll need to get used to.” He advises military children to “Get out there. See what works for you.”

The Army is committed to military families and children, and thanks them for the support and contributions they make on behalf of their Soldiers. There are a variety of services, including childcare and youth services, to address the unique circumstances of military families. Learn more at